The 5 most efficient and effective exercises ever

Categories: Fitness

Time is precious. Whether or not you want to spend hours in the gym every week is fairly immaterial; few of us have the luxury. When we do find the time, we want to know that we will be reaping the rewards of our efforts.

Fancy gym equipment is rarely the answer; it’s the effective execution of movements and targeting key muscle groups that will get you the results.

Workouts are pretty personal, and depend on an individual’s goals, but there are some exercises that (when done correctly) will never disappoint. They might not be the most exciting, but if the experts say they’re the best, they probably are.

P.S don’t forget to warm up, first.

Interval training

Love it or hate it – getting some cardio into your routine is essential not only for fat loss and upping your metabolism, but for maintaining a healthy heart. Burning more calories in 15 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) than you would in an hour slogging away on the tread mill? Sign us up. Easy it might not be, but efficient and effective it certainly is.


Squats are not only a compound movement (they work your core, glutes and hamstrings as well as your quads) but are one of the most versatile exercises. Keep it simple with bodyweight squats, or up the pressure with jumps, weights, and different stances – think split stance, sumo, or single-leg squats. Deep squats also improve your flexibility – that’s more time for working out, and less time stretching before you head out of the door.

Press ups

The classic body weight exercise isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon. Working your core stabilising muscles, your pectorals, your biceps, triceps and deltoids (shoulders), there’s little reason to shun the humble press up. Position your arms wider to feel it in your chest, or closer together to put the pressure on your arms.

Bent over barbell row

The barbell row works all the muscles in the upper back, as well as your biceps. Definitely one for the more time-poor, the barbell row works all the muscles in the upper back, as well as your biceps. Unlike single handed dumbbell rows, the barbell allows you to use more weight, and get the most benefit out of your back training.

Jackknife sit-up

Sculpting a six-pack is high up on most men’s fitness goals, but there’s a limit to the results that your regular sit ups are going to achieve. Jackknife sit ups will not only fire up your whole rectus abdominals (six pack) in movement, but will introduce your stomach muscles to a whole new level of (worthwhile) pain.

For more articles to help you keep fit, check out our ultimate workout guide with Matt Roberts.